A few years ago I was a writer for a new start-up gaming site that focused on the PS3. I would link you to it, but it has since become a hot link to porno sites, and not very good ones I might add. Thanks to an internet pal, I was hooked up with a marketing team that was able to send me review copies for select games. I wasn’t getting the big name blockbusters, but I did manage to score copies of such games like (the well underplayed) Wet, Need for Speed Shift, and King of Fighters XII (I believe).
However, there was one certain game that not only was hard to review, but eventually led to the marketing team to cut all ties with me. That game was Terminator Salvation.
I was sent this game and thought, “oh crap, a movie licensed title? This can’t end well.” This was given to me before the reviews from more major outlets even hit, but everyone expected this game to suck. It did. While I was in the process of my review, I received an email from one of the reps at the marketing company, asking me how I was planning to review this game. He admitted that the reviews have been less than stellar thus far, try horrendous, and in simple terms, he wanted to see if I would give it a good remark. If I gave it a good score, I could possibly see my site on the game’s box, or hell, maybe even a commercial – if one were released. I would get social media support from the company, given that it would be one of the very few reviews to give it some praise. He didn’t say such things, this was what I believed could happen.
I informed him that I had no plans to give this game a respectable score, and I mentioned its several flaws – most of which were pointed out in the already-posted reviews on more known websites. He then asked me if I could hold off on posting my review. I was a bit hesitant to oblige, considering the objective of reviews, or one of them, is to get them off in a timely manner. I played through the game, as the campaign is shorter than James Cameron’s Avatar (movie), and there was no need to go back and play it again as I’ve experienced everything it could possibly offer.
Then it hit me. If I were to decline his request, this would likely end my relationship with this company. Why send free games to an unknown site who doesn’t give in to your every request? I liked free games; maybe not the ones sent to me, but it was a stepping stone to getting that advanced copy of the next Grand Theft Auto. I said yes to the request for this reason, but informed him I will only delay it one week. He accepted that.
I never heard from the company since then. They are still around.
This is why I now refuse to even pursue scoring review copies for games since then. It would save a load on my wallet, and also give me the opportunity to post reviews sooner if it were an advanced copy, but with my site not being an established, go to place for readers interested in what I have to say, you feel as if you have some obligations to modify your opinion.
Terminator Salvation is a bad game; there’s no defending it. It is also my next GameFly rental.
The only perk to playing this game is similar to the perks in playing any Hannah Montana game: the achievements / trophies are ridiculously easy to get. It has a total of 12 trophies, all of which revolve around beating the missions and that is it. I received all but two of them during my review playthrough: beating the game on the hardest difficulty, and getting the Platinum that follows it.
When I finished playing the game, I immediately sold it on Amazon to get some money. The game was still relatively new at the time, and since I paid nothing for it, anything was a profit. I forget the exact amount, but I know some trophy hunter paid me at least $20 for it. I regretted never going back for the final trophies, as it would maybe take me just a couple more hours to do so. I will now have that chance.
It’s a Platinum trophy three years in the making.
I had every intention of cancelling GameFly this month because I recently acquired the Metal Gear Solid: Legacy Collection. This pack is going to take me a good chunk of time to get through, as I prepare for MGS Ground Zeroes, which is launching later this year. Why spend $17 a month on GameFly, when I already have a lengthy backlog to get through? I’ll re-up again sometime soon. Yet, I allowed it to renew for at least one more month, so I could be able to get in that one final playthrough of Terminator Salvation. It’s now a $17 Platinum trophy, one that would have been free back in 2010 if I just stuck it out.
This is what trophies / achievements can do to you. They make you ignore more worthy games (like this month’s free download of BioShock Infinite), just so you can waste spending a few hours on a far more undeserving title that has easier accolades to accomplish. When the Xbox 360 first came out, I would try to rent as many crappy games as it had, just to get that easy 1000 gamerscore. For the PS3, I’ve played a few bad games here and there, just to try to build up my total trophy count. Though, sometimes you happen to find an easy trophy game that isn’t all that bad. Wanted: Weapons of Fate was solely purchased for its trophies, but the game wasn’t all that bad. I actually enjoyed it more than the movie.
Virtual prestige is a growing trend, and one that is here to stay. Is it a bad thing? I wouldn’t say so. Trophies can help people discover games that they would have never thought of playing, and may end up liking them. In most cases though, it gives those bad games their one sole reason to be played, because what bad game would offer a ridiculous challenge for a virtual bragging right?